I want to acid stain an existing, older concrete slab. What’s the best way to clean the concrete so the stain will take? -David

Hi David,

Cleaning an old concrete slab so it will take an acid stain can be very difficult, but it is possible. The main thing is to NOT use any kind of acid wash or etching solution (including muriatic acid) to clean the slab. The stain will not take at all if you use acid as a cleaner.

A solution of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and a lot of elbow grease with a scrub brush would be your best bet. Using a scrub brush with a long handle makes cleaning much easier. Another option would be to use a pressure washer to clean the concrete slab. For grease stains on concrete, try scrubbing the stain with lacquer thinner or mineral spirits.

Even with your best efforts, you may wind up with patches on a concrete slab that simply won’t take an acid stain due to low lime content in the concrete (lime is what causes a chemical reaction with the acid stain). In those cases, you may have to resort to applying a faux finish to the spots to try and match the acid stain in the surrounding areas.

Good luck with your project,


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Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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